Oftel could block BT's ADSL price cut

Regulator keeps mum

BT could be forced to shelve plans to cut the wholesale cost of its broadband product while telecoms regulator, Oftel, investigates complaints from rival operators.

Sources have told The Register that Oftel is mulling the idea while it carries out a full investigation into complaints that the cost cut is "anti-competitive".

The price drop announced earlier this month only applied to BT's 'IPStream' service - the wholesale end-to-end service provided by BT Wholesale to the telco's retail operations and other service providers.

However, Energis, Thus and Tiscali all complained to the regulator incensed that BT failed to pass on similar price cuts to its wholesale Datastream service - a product that allows other service providers to use their own networks to provide competitive broadband services.

A spokeswoman for the regulator confirmed that Oftel had received three complaints and was currently investigating the matter.

However, she declined to comment on speculation that Oftel planned to block the proposed price cut except to say: "We are looking into all possibilities."

However, she confirmed that Oftel is due to make an announcement on the matter - possibly as early as next week.

Oftel does have the power to block price cuts and has done do in the past.

A spokesman for BT Wholesale said the telco was currently helping Oftel with an investigation into the proposed price cut but remained unaware of any opposition from the regulator. He was confident that the cost cut met the telco's licence obligations. ®

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